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Shippy's avatar

A question for christians or people who believe?

Asked by Shippy (9857 points ) September 26th, 2012

The question is not asking if Christianity is good or bad, what I am asking though, is how becoming a Christian changed your life?

I ask because I have been prayed for many times, experienced some relief then went back to my old self of feeling rotten all round. Rotten as in depressed fed up and pretty much how I did before.

What am I doing wrong then?

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20 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Relying on an erroneous or faulty belief system? From your short text, I gather that those who prayed for you embrace Christianity. Do you? If you are a skeptic, then you skew the concept and also skew the placebo effect (which is not to be sneered at).

Shippy's avatar

@gailcalled Are you Christian?

gailcalled's avatar

No. I am a secular Jew. I can’t imagine that “whatever you are doing wrong” (and I really need more explanation in order to understand what that means) equates to not receiving benefits from the prayers of Christians.

Whenever someone says “I’ll pray for you, ” I really want to answer, “Forget that. Make me some soup.”

Seek's avatar

I’ll preface this with a disclosure: I’m not a believer. Used to be.

What can you do?
Nothing.

Once upon a time I was a “true believer”. I was also living in an abusive household and was victimised by depression. As time went by, I kind of stopped “feeling it”. Of course, that was totally my own fault – clearly I wasn’t praying right, or there was some sin in my life (that I was unaware of, probably) that was standing between myself and my relationship with my god. God loved me, I knew that, so it had to be my fault that God wasn’t meeting me at the altar. That I was doing something that kept God from answering my prayer, even if it was just a prayer to not be so damn miserable.

Why, god, won’t you make me feel better?

Unfortunately, God can’t make you not be depressed. Depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain. Other people’s prayers aren’t going to help. Faith healers are not going to help. Your own prayers might help, a bit, if your depression isn’t the type that requires medical attention. If it is, you need to see a doctor.

Relying solely on prayer to cure depression is likely to bring you further frustration and feed the “demon” that’s eating you.

Shippy's avatar

@gailcalled Oh OK, well thank you for answering, but was more towards believers, as stated in the question. Also puzzled as to where I am skewing things? It’s not a philosophical question at all. It’s a simple one.

Shippy's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Thank you, I can identify with you so much, some of my friends are buzzing and alive from prayer. So when I say I am not, they tell me maybe it is because I do not read enough or something. But yes, I feel like I am doing something wrong. I know, I do understand depression etc., is an illness. Just one of them, was healed and can walk now. So, nothing makes sense to me. But those types of questions I guess can spark many a debate. Maybe I am doing something wrong though in that I could change something. I am on medication etc., . I would like something to change spiritually for me though. So I do have hope.

gailcalled's avatar

@Shippy: Are you asking us how you find faith? That is not a simple question.

“So when I say I am not, they {my friends} tell me maybe it is because I do not read enough or something. But yes, I feel like I am doing something wrong.”

Perhaps schedule spiritual counselling with your priest or church leader. Attend more services. Go to bible study. Read the great works about faith. Graham Greene and T.S. Eliot found faith in their later years.

I cannot believe that having faith is a simple concept of being right.

What do you mean when you say that your friends are “buzzing and alive because of prayerr”? Have they all had a spiritual awakening or a medical miracle?

You are asking a question that has been discussed, pondered and written about for as long as people have been able to ponder, discuss and write.

Shippy's avatar

@gailcalled Great suggestions thank you.

leopardgecko123's avatar

The problem with a lot of churches and christians is that they are filled with lies. The reason it seems Jesus is hard to love is that they make him seem distant, like he’s changed from how he was in the Bible. He’s the same! They cloud your view of him with religious fog that comes from the enemy. When you know Jesus for who he really is, free of religion, that’s when you experience real freedom and love. I read the book ‘Beautiful Outlaw’ by John Eldridge and it’s what introduced me to the real, lovable Jesus, not the distant one. I feel closer to Christ now, like he’s a close friend. It’s a book everybody should read because it doesn’t lie to you like the rest of the world does.

gailcalled's avatar

The trouble with this question in this forum is the clear and present danger of oversimplification..

@leopardgecko123: I commend you on your faith but cannot believe that one book tells the truth and “the rest of the world” lies. That’s a lot of people who are lying.

Shippy's avatar

@leopardgecko123 Thank you for a beautiful inspiring answer much appreciated.

gambitking's avatar

Christianity is a relationship with God, it means ‘little Christ’. The transcendence comes from walking close to Jesus, and He with you. Seeing God do the amazing things He does over and over and over, without fail, is a life-changing reward.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4

KNOWITALL's avatar

It sounds crazy, I know, but I would rebuke the Devil out loud and often. “I rebuke Satan in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior’ and he must leave.

serenade's avatar

I’m a recovered Catholic, have extensive experience with depression, and believe enough in an underlying “truth” to respond to your question. This isn’t an attempt to dictate whether you are depressed and to what extent such depression requires a medical cure.

If you are Christian, then you likely believe in God, Jesus, a Holy Spirit (at least that’s true for Catholicism), that you have a soul, and the Devil.

I would begin by suggesting that you are letting the Devil’s influence hold sway. The Devil’s currency, in addition to capital E Evil, includes fear, self loathing, pessimism, etc. The Devil also deals in trickery, and the nature of dark energy is that it pretends to be alive and holds people captive.

Inside, you are likely clinging to this energy, because you have been seduced into the belief in its reality. The religion of your personal suffering is inhabiting and informing your heart soul and likely has such a grip on you (and you on it) that there is only the fleeting possibility of achieving what you are aspiring to achieve. You are holding on to a boulder, and you are aspiring to swim without letting it go.

So the first thing is waking up to that possibility and resolving to dispel that influence.

The second thing is inviting God’s love, inviting the Holy Spirit, inviting Jesus’ light to live within your heart and soul. I think a pervasive mistake with Christian religions is the persistence in this idea that God is “out there” and we are perpetually appealing to some external entity with selective hearing. God isn’t the tooth fairy or a genie in a lamp. God is like sunlight in that He bathes us all in life-giving light. Witness your own despairing. Why haven’t you dropped dead from grief? Why haven’t you offed yourself to end your suffering? Is it possible that God’s love is keeping you afloat in spite of your best effort to hang on to that boulder?

The key words going forward are ones such as open, cultivate, welcome & invite. Rather than let the Devil foul your soul, invite God’s love and light to live inside you. Make a practice of growing that light within you, and when you can, take delight in it and share it with others. Recognize the peace that it brings and when you can share that peace with others. I’m not saying evangelize. I’m saying share the light and the peace.

This is what it means to be saved. It means letting God’s light inhabit you and experiencing the immediacy of God’s touch within you.

Some Christians, unfortunately, treat Original Sin as an end in itself. There is too strong a chant of “We are sinners!” Sin is turning away from God, shutting out his light, and being tricked by the Devil that we have cause to despair. You’ve been tricked. Perhaps we all have. But now that you have an awareness of what’s real and what’s illusion, you can address the trickery with forgiveness and let go of the need to resolve your problems. They are also illusions. Just let them go and step into the light. Let yourself be saved and live with God’s love inside you.

Judi's avatar

I never had an Ah ha! Moment in my faith. I have had several experiences that have deepened my faith though. The epiphany that I didn’t need to worry or be afraid has changed the way I interact in the world. The trust that God is God and I’m not makes me stress a lot less.
From some of your previous posts (if I remember right) you suffer from clinical depression. Although this can be alieved spiritually if God so chooses, it is not unlike other illnesses that need a combination of medical, spiritual and mental intervention.
You are not the only person of God who has suffered from this sometimes debilitating disease. Just read the Psalms!
I remember when my son was in the depth of his depression (at around age 12) reading in the margins of his Bible in Psalms “A king felt just like me. ”
I would suggest you consider the Serinity Prayer.
God, grant me the Serinity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Seek medical intervention if you need it.
Eat right and exercise regularly.
Get into a daily devotion habit. (I like Daily in Christ by Neil Anderson)
Treat yourself with both humility and respect.
Respect because you are a child of the most high God and HIS righteousness makes you holy.
Humility because it is by his benevolent love that you are worthy.
Sorry if the non believers want to barf. This post is meant to be one believer to another.

starsofeight's avatar

I am a Christian—used not to be—and before that, I was. For me, becoming a Christian lifted me above the shackles of feelings. Both believers and non-believers (on the level of your experience) are chained to their feelings. I had attempted suicide three times because of my feelings. Now, Christianity gives me a place to be that is above all the highs and lows. It has also set me on a course of personal investigation that occupies my mind in both the good times and the bad.

filmfann's avatar

I have always been a Christian. I was raised in the Church, and I never remember a moment where I went from not believing to believing. I have always had faith in the Lord.
Putting your faith in the Lord means letting him guide you. It isn’t always pleasant, but I have always felt him with me, even in the worst trials of my life.
Remember, he isn’t helping you, you are to do his work.

choreplay's avatar

At risk of over simplification let me offer three facets of faith that might bring you an Epiphany.

First of all a spiritual journey often happens by steps or plateaus, what I’m saying is often when we learn something of spiritual or emotional nature, in a matter of fact way, it doesn’t come to life for us till we learn it or rather experience it with out hearts.

Next, It’s about grace/forgiveness. The becoming holy part is a reaction of appreciation we show God. So don’t measure you faith by holy you are measure it by how willing you are to let God love you just the way you are.

Third, don’t presume you know what God wants to fix in your life, it may be deeper in your heart then you can consciously know.

I just responded to the spiritual elements. Take other advice above to consider the physical factors of which some might need medical help.

flutherother's avatar

I find the thought of someone praying for me to be quite chilling. It is as if they are saying I’m not going to help you but I will see if God is willing to do anything.

Nullo's avatar

My story isn’t very dramatic; I was saved very early on. But my grandfathers were not; one of them, almost overnight, stopped being an abusive alcoholic upon salvation. The other one, after a lifetime of self-centered depravity and rebellious indigence, shaped up, moved out of his lousy situation, got a job, and became a good, productive person. These are extreme cases being brought up to baseline, so it’s going to be a bit more dramatic than usual.

Like @filmfann said, it’s not guaranteed smooth sailing. We’re flat-out told that there are going to be difficult times. But we are promised company and a safe harbor at the end. Get into the Word. And if being prayed for helps, then get prayed for. Pray yourself. And I’ll be praying for you, too.
Remember that you’re no less of a Christian for seeking medical attention; God made doctors, too. :D

@flutherother It’s like this: “I can’t do anything for you, but God can, so I’m going to ask Him to, as a child to his father.” My strengths are writing things on the Internet, reading science fiction, and making chicken; there’s not much that I can do beyond being friendly and supportive – and praying. You do not want me rooting around in your head, because I’m likely to leave chicken in it.

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